Governor Peter Shumlin wants the Vermont Lottery Commission to take a serious look at developing online gaming opportunities.
A number of states are exploring online gambling after the U.S. Justice Department dropped its long standing opposition to the idea.
While some states are moving aggressively to offer Internet based lottery games, other states like Vermont are seriously looking at this option.
Currently, all proceeds from the Lottery are put into the state’s Education Fund. Last year this amounted to roughly $20 million.
Shumlin wants Vermont’s Lottery Commission to take a detailed look at online gaming and he wants to be certain that any additional revenue stays in the Education Fund.
"Internet lottery is going to be the wave of the future. I’m not suggesting that we won’t sell tickets and I want to sell tickets because it’s good for our downtown stores," said Shumlin. "But we also have to recognize that the technology is taking us to the Internet and the question is, what’s the role of the Internet in our lottery for Vermont in the future. And we don’t have to hurry but we better figure it out."
And Shumlin says any expansion of the Lottery should reflect Vermont’s philosophy about gambling.
"My feeling is a little different than perhaps some other governors" said Shumlin. "I don’t think that we should get carried away with our Lottery in Vermont but I do believe as a businessperson that if you’re going to sell a product and you think it’s the right decision to sell it, sell it and if you’re not don’t."
Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock says he has serious concerns about any effort to expand state sponsored gambling.
"Gambling is a serious problem for some Vermonters and we don’t want to make it easier for those folks to get into deeper and deeper trouble," said Brock. "There need to be some limits on what we do particularly if we’re doing anything that would extend credit to gambling and that’s something that I think we should do very, very cautiously if at all."
And Brock questions if Vermont really needs to spend more money on Education.
"I’m not sure that we have a revenue problem in Vermont I think we have a spending problem in Vermont and rather than increase revenue by more gambling I prefer us to be more responsible about how we control our spending."
The Vermont Lottery Commission is expected to issue a special report on Internet gambling to the Legislature in January.